American Sign Language

On February 23, 2014, I recalled sitting on the train — waiting to pull out of the station. Three young girls (probably high school) bustled in and sat in the 4 seater ahead of me. They began conversing animatedly. Laughing. Giggling. And I watched. Fascinated.  What caught my attention was — they didn’t make a sound. One of the girls was deaf. And the three were mouthing words to each other and using sign language.  They were fast.  And fluent. 

I am reminded of that post given the recent press conferences and political offerings – which often include a person who is “signing” for viewers who are hearing impaired. 

American Sign Language (“ASL”) originated in the early 19th century at the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, CT.   Today, it is used by nearly a million people.  I have two friends who are conversant in ASL:  one of my partners and my former priest (both Eagle Scouts by the way).  

Watching these three young women “talking” was a wake up for me.  Since then, when I have lunch at my desk (which is often), I will sometimes log onto an ASL site just to stretch my small brain.  Do yourself a favor.  Check out   And learn a bit of ASL.  There are many YouTube opportunities to learn ASL.   It is neat and valuable to creak open this door.  

I have a special reason to look into ASL.  You see my father was clinically deaf from World War II.  And he never learned ASL.  And neither did I. . . . .  

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